By Kylie Ham
Millenials LOVE to travel. I’d like to include myself in this stereotype. I would enjoy nothing more than to be able to have enough time and money to drop everything and explore the world. One scenario that I have considered in depth is studying abroad. UMSL has an amazing study abroad program that many students take advantage of. I was able to talk to Jean Safron, President of Delta Sigma Pi, about his incredible experience studying abroad. I wanted to give you guys some more information on this program, along with sharing Jean’s insight, and hopefully persuade you into taking advantage of this opportunity yourself.
There are many different options for students who are considering studying abroad. Different programs include being gone for an entire year, one semester, or even just 2-6 weeks during the summer or winter intersession. There are so many different places to travel to. Some of the countries include Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Italy, France, China, and Japan, but there are still so many more. Jean chose to do his study abroad in Strasbourg, France. Because there are many different places to travel to, it is easy for students to pick a place that they are interested in the study.
There is a wide variety of classes offered in order for students to earn credits toward their degree. Many of the schools have good business programs and this allows business students at UMSL to keep progressing towards graduation while still getting the study abroad experience. A few of the classes that Jean attended include International Human Resource Management, International Consumer Behavior, and Supply Chain Strategy.
One of the things that I was concerned about when considering studying abroad was the financial aspect. I was expecting it to be very expensive to study in a different country, but this just isn’t true. The pricing is about the same amount as if you were taking classes at UMSL. Students are able to use their current financial aid from UMSL, and they are given additional scholarship options through this program. Jean shared with me that he received a scholarship which covered almost the entire cost of his tuition. He said that the scholarship application process is easy and done online through UMSL’s website.
Many of my peers who have studied abroad have told me that it was the best decision of their lives and helped them find who they truly are. When I asked Jean if he also felt this way he said, “Yes it was, it is really indescribable. It let me experience the world on my own. Study abroad allowed me to see other cultures first hand. It changed my outlook on life.” Jean also told me about how he was able to visit ten different countries, meet his best friend, and also get to know other fraternity brothers from around the world because of this experience. This is such an amazing opportunity that every UMSL student should take advantage of.
Besides this being an amazing travel and learning experience, it is also a great opportunity for your future. Traveling abroad is something respectable that you are able to put on your resume and talk to future employers about. On the UMSL study abroad website, it explains how many alumni who have chosen to study abroad were given more job offers and even promotions based on their study abroad experience. This could be an investment in your future, and another great reason to take advantage of this program.
I asked Jean what he would like other students to know about study abroad. Jean said, “What I wish all other students need to know about studying abroad. There is no regret, just do it. It is an opportunity to see the world. It is a lot easier than it seems at first. Once you are there you will forget how hard it was to get there. Dealing with UMSL abroad was the hardest for me about my credits. I think that going into the business it should be required, even if you are not in international business. It is a conversation starter, a way for you to connect with others and have a reference to their cultural background, and a great way to make friends and network around the world. I can go to many countries and have a friend, I can call on friends around the world for a favor or support.”
I urge you to consider studying abroad. Go check out the UMSL study abroad website at https://studyabroad.umsl.edu/ where you can read other student experiences and see answers to frequently asked questions. It is also a good idea to talk to someone about the program by visiting their office in 362 SSB; they would love to answer your questions and give you more information on the process. Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity.